Best Time to Sell your Home: When you Establish Desirability, Exposure, and Value

Tim Lucas
Military VA Loan editor
Best time to sell a home

When you decide to sell your home, it’s more about “how” than “when.” Photo: Thinkstock.

by Ed Kunkel, Jr., Realtor® and U.S. Military Veteran

When is the best time to sell?

As soon as you are mentally prepared to sell it!  You have to truly want to sell it, regardless of any other distraction, opinion, or method of approach.  This is the most important thing you should know and take seriously.

You have to picture yourself leaving your home, and moving on to the next chapter of your life plan.  It truly doesn’t matter what time of the year you decide to put the home on the market, it only matters if you are mentally prepared, being realistic and intentional with your home’s value, and that you prepare your home in such a way that a complete stranger can picture themselves living in it.

To ensure your success, there are three essential concerns you must satisfy to be a successful seller – desirability, exposure and value.

Home Desirability

What makes a home desirable?  Not necessarily to you, but to a potential buyer?

Imagine you are walking into a total stranger’s home when the residents are not there.  You see various personal pictures on the walls of what you assume are family members.  You notice an urn resting on the fireplace mantle, and there’s a cat coming out of the laundry room where his litter box rests.

As you are touring the home, you see that one of the bedrooms is obviously a teenager’s room, with posters all over the walls, an un-made bed, and underwear on the floor.  When you tour the kitchen, you can tell by the remnants of dirty dishes and smells that the owners had pork and rice for dinner last night.  Do you feel like you’re touring a home that is for sale, or do you feel like you’re intruding on someone’s living space?

Part of the process of getting a ready, willing and able buyer to buy your home is to make the home desirable – for them.  When they walk in the door, they should be able to imagine themselves living in your home, instead of feeling like they are intruding.  In order to potentially fulfill that desire you will need to de-clutter and de-personalize your home.  Additionally, you will want your home staged, as staged homes will have a greater chance of selling – and selling for the most value the market will bear.  Ask your agent for a referral of a staging specialist.


How do you tackle exposure?  This is a great question for your agent.  Most agents do the typical 3 P’s – they Put a sign in the yard, Place the home on MLS, and Pray that another agent sells it.

To be successful in selling your home, you need more than a prayer – you need a plan.  When you are interviewing agents, have them carefully explain how their marketing plan will help you gain the most exposure possible to help you find a buyer for your home.

Your home may appeal to a certain niche market, and it may take more than traditional means to gain the exposure you’re looking for.  Have your agent put their marketing plan in writing, and hold them accountable to it.

Determining your Home’s Value

Last but most critical, is determining value.  This is the most challenging part of selling your home, and the most common reason why sellers fail.  Market forces are consumer driven – not seller driven.  That is the cold, hard truth.  If you have more time, effort, hope and money invested in your home than what the market will bear, you won’t get that difference.  Overpriced homes don’t sell.   Before the dawn of the internet, negotiating the price was more of an involved practice.  Now, consumers have more information at their fingertips to help them make an informed decision quickly about which home to buy without doing any haggling.  And why go to the trouble of haggling when you don’t have to?

Real Estate Sells Year-Round

Real Estate sells all year round, regardless of sunshine, rain, or snow.  Commonly, sellers prefer to put their homes on the market in the spring and summer time when the weather is more favorable.  But if they don’t follow the three essential concerns to being successful, there is no advantage to being on the market in fair weather.

From a buyer’s perspective, a home can be just as charming and desirable surrounded by snow, as it may be with rhododendrons in the front yard in full bloom.  A family relocating to your area in November with a short time frame to get settled is not going to be concerned about flower boxes and green grass, they are going to be looking for a desirable home with a reasonable price.  The best time to sell your home is when you’re truly ready to sell it.

Ed Kunkel, Jr. is a Managing Broker/Realtor® at Keller Williams Realty in Olympia, Washington. Visit Ed here. Ed’s Military History: Veteran – U.S. Army and Air Force Reserve; Highest rank, E5; 11 years combined military service.